And the Bird Says Coo: Dr.Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

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Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

By: Evan Roskos

Released: March, 2013 by Harcourt Brace and Company

Length: 320 Pages

Genre: YA realistic contemporary-mental illness: anxiety, depression, cutting

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: Gift

 

James Whitman may not be Walt Whitman, but wishes he was. It’s better than being 16, living with a Brute and a Banshee for parents; as well as having your older sister kicked out of the house for a reason not so clear, Then there’s the depression and anxiety; plus, a pigeon for a therapist. Yes, being Walt may be better, but then this novel wouldn’t be so heartbreaking and funny; or touching and true to life.

Sixteen year old James Whitman is struggling. His older sister just got kicked out by his parents, the Brute and the Banshee. He doesn’t have many friends. His depression and anxiety is getting worse; his therapist Dr. Bird can only say so much. He’s determined to get his sister back into school after she was expelled for a reason unknown to him; and, back under the same roof. The truth he discovers is not what he expected at all. His sister was struggling much worse than he ever knew. When asked by his crush, the adorable Beth, to search for his sister’s final submission to the literary magazine, he finds out something disturbing– his sister was a cutter. Her piece had become more private and focused on her cutting with pieces of razor blades attached.

This new information, and a budding friendship with Beth, takes James on a new journey of self-discovery and what is truly going on in his life that he has ignored. It is at times heart breaking, other times funny, endearing, and sometimes sweet and inspiring. It’s a touching story about growing up and about family; being there for them and what it means to be a family.

I loved this story. I have wanted to read this book since it came out last year, but never got around to it. I’m glad I finally did. Here’s my plug. For the Nook (that’s what I have. I’m anti-kindle) it is $1.99. It is worth it. A quick read, it really affected me. There was raw honesty, great character development, the plot was entertaining and engaging, and it leaves you satisfied. I highly recommend it. It didn’t feel just like another YA book. It was very realistic; and, I think even adults would benefit from reading it. You get a sense of how hard High School can be, the effects and causes of self-mutilation (all which is very real in the book), and the reality that teens can get depression and anxiety. Some people brush it off as just puberty, but it’s real. Roskos does a nice job not being too clinical about it or bashing us in the head with it. It was all done very nicely. There is also a lot of poetry by Whitman which was really good. I enjoyed reading poems of his that I didn’t know. Overall, I believe it’s a book that should be read. Especially by teens. But, it’s just so universal, I think. And, who wants to miss out reading sessions between a pigeon therapist and James?

Happy reading!

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Move over paper: E-books and Audio books

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These days, even with books still in print, there are too many different ways to read. I never grew up with e-books, or audio books quite frankly. Now, these two formats are hard to avoid. They are cheap, convenient, and widely available. Of course bookstores are still around; children running around with new toys, or trying to listen to story time; students taking all the available seats, and the floor, too!; adults stroll; with cafes in store, people settle and read magazines. Then, there are advertisements for Nook books, Kobo books at independent bookstores like the one I once worked at. You can browse the limited audio book sections.

 

 

More people are listening to audio books. I am constantly seeing e-readers. I admit I have one, but the power dwindles more than I turn the fake pages. The one format I am having trouble grasping is audio books.

I admit to getting joy of finding great and cheap reads on my Nook. For each gift card, I stretch it out by only getting $2.99 or less books. I have learned to stay away from free, google copied classics. I rather buy a new book than buy it on my Nook. I don’t like that the prices don’t differ as much. You would think with ink being limited, trees untouched, the price would be lower. But, audio books, I have passed on.

I have only read a few audio books. Often though, you will hear my music seeping from my headphones rather than hearing unfamiliar voices speaking Dickenese, Austenian, or any other dialect. When I clean, which isn’t too often, I still choose music. Why, because I don’t want to not hear a novel. I can’t concentrate and focus on the words being spoken. I try to listen to The Wind in the Willows, but it has taken me around six months, or so, to reach chapter nine. What happened during the book, I just don’t know. I can’t quite remember because I don’t think my brain was really listening.

But, I have discovered my problem, narrators! I am listening to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and absolutely love the narrator! I am enjoying it so much I forget I am listening to it, instead I feel present with the narrator. Other works I have listened to, I just didn’t like the voice speaking to me. When I listened to Peter Pan, a librivox recording, the narrators switched; a new voice each chapter, but not for each character.

For all you audio book fans, what makes an audio book work for you? And, what format do you really enjoy?

I know audio books are not for all, but now I think I will give them a second chance. Unfortunately, I am on a budget, I only listen to the books featured on the 99 cent app on my Iphone and Itouch. Who can pass up unlimited audio books with a one time fee of 99 cents plus tax?

Feeling a book is great. But I have no more room for books. My library is terrible. Audio books just be something I want to keep as a major option.

Happy reading!

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